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10 Books to Read Before Traveling to Scotland

From the capital city of Edinburgh, to the great landscapes of the Highlands, Scotland has centuries of rich history ready for you to discover. In preparation for your trip, set aside some time to get to know the unique places in the beautiful country of Scotland. The books below can help you make the most out of your journey.

Scotland: The Autobiography 2,000 Years of Scottish History by Those Who Saw It Happen  by Rosemary Goring

Prepare for your trip to the magnificent country of Scotland by taking a journey through various accounts of historical instances witnessed by a wide variety of Scottish people. From Mary, Queen of Scots, to Bill Connolly, this book includes eye witnesses from multiple decades to create a wide spectrum of more than 2000 years of Scottish history. A variety of journal entries, direct quotes, newspaper articles, and letters, this book provides a living accessible history told by poets, journalists, politicians, comedians, and more.

The Hidden Ways: Scotland’s Forgotten Roads  by Alistair Moffat

Traveling down the lost paths of Scotland, this book will guide the reader through the ways in which history has left its mark on Scottish landscape. Join author Alistair Moffat as he retraces forgotten hidden paths that encompass the beauty of the country and reveal a new way of understanding history. For those who are looking for something more than just a historical guide to Scotland, this book will inspire you to delve deeper into the hidden gems that the Scottish countryside has to offer.

A History of Scotland  by Neil Oliver

Throughout the years, the history of Scotland has been defined by its relationship to England, as well as a slew of tragic events and near mythical figures. From the martyrdom of William Wallace, to the tragedy of Mary Queen of Scots, historical instances of defeat and failure have painted the picture of Scotland as a victim of misfortune. Author Neil Oliver places the history of Scotland in a wider context, and reveals a different version of Scottish history, showing how the country successfully forged its own destiny. Discover the rich history of this beautiful country before embarking on your trip through this historical novel stretching from the formation of Scotland thousands of years ago, to its place in the world today.

Scotland: Mapping the Nation  by Christopher Fleet, Margaret Wilkes, Charles W.J Wither

For those who may be fascinated with geography, this book makes use of various maps to offer a fascinating and thought provoking account of Scottish history, perfect for reading before traveling to this magnificent western European country. Authored by three experts who have spent their lives working with maps, this beautifully illustrated book journeys from the earliest representations of Scotland, to the most recent forms of mapping and geographical representations. Whether you’re touring the entirety of the country, or just one area, this book will prepare you for anywhere you could possibly travel to in Scotland.

A Sense of Belonging to Scotland: The Complete Collection  by Andy Hall

Filled with stunning photographs and memorable contributions from Scottish personalities, this visually appealing book is the perfect way to get yourself accustomed to everything that is special about Scotland. Author Andy Hall along with actors, politicians, journalists, and more, has managed to capture some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes, along with what about these locations makes them so special.

How the Scots Invented the Modern World  by Arthur Herman

In preparation for your trip, travel through the literary work of Arthur Herman and discover the crucial contributions to science, philosophy, literature, education, medicine, politics, and more, made by Scotland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Rather than just a chronological outline of Scottish history, this book takes readers through an exciting account of inventions and ideas that you may have never known originated in Scotland, and uncovers the impact that this country has had on the modern world.

Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides  by Adam Nicolson

Travel the Scottish Isles in this breathtaking literary journey that follows author Adam Nicolson as he recounts his experiences on The Shiants, a cluster of three islands lying east of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, which he inherited from his father when he was just 21 years old. Illustrated with maps, drawings, and photographs, this book, like nothing you have read before, will immerse you in the previously unwritten history of the islands, and offers a unique journey through the paradoxes of Island life.

A Traveller’s History of Scotland  by Andrew Fisher

This chronological timeline of centuries of rich Scottish history, gives readers the ability to travel back in time and learn about major events that have shaped Scotland into what it is today. Illustrated with line drawings and historical maps, this book is jam packed with interesting fact about Scotland’s rich and turbulent history. For anyone who wants to brush up on their history before visiting Scotland, A Traveller’s History of Scotland will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the nations past and present.

Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes  by Robert Louis Stevenson

This firsthand account of 19th century Edinburgh paints a vivid picture of Scotland's capital, and is the perfect read to prepare traveler’s for a first time visit. From local superstitions to old architecture, Robert Louis Stevenson’s passion and enthusiasm for the city shines through in this detailed depiction of Edinburgh, making this book essential in preparing for a visit to the historic capital, also known as “Auld Reekie”.

The Highland Clans  by Alistair Moffat

This book delves deep into the famous and celebrated story of the Scottish Highland clans. Tracing the history from the Celtic origins to the beginning of their end at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Alistair Moffat guides the reader through a world dominated by land, lineage, and community. Before traveling to the beautiful Highlands of Scotland, you may want to take a moment to learn about the extraordinary people that were shaped by the landscape that you are going to visit. Complete with a clan map and list of clan names, as well as illustrations and paintings, this book offers readers a concise history of the development and demise of the Highland clans.

 

 

Scotland Tours

Showing 6 of 6 total

Irish & Scottish Sampler

Starting from $1899

4.6
8/9 Days

This short-and-sweet combination Ireland and Scotland tour visits all the top highlights, mixing in historic cities with iconic sights.

​Guided Tours, Small Groups

Taste of Scotland

Starting from $1069

4.6
5 Days

Explore the very best of Scotland's gorgeous scenery and bustling cities on this short-and-sweet introductory tour. 

​Guided Tours

Scottish Supreme

Starting from $3319

4.8
8 Days

This heart of Scotland tour showcases the country's gorgeous castles, cathedrals, and countryside. Enjoy an intimate small group tour with luxury accommodations at every stop.

​Guided Tours, Small Groups

Scottish Dream

Starting from $1949

4.8
8 Days

Check the must-sees off of your wish list on this good-value Scotland tour, which is an ideal introduction to the bustling cities and breathtaking landscapes.

​Guided Tours

The Outer Hebrides: Scotland's Gaelic West

Starting from $3589

5.0
11 Days

Adventure out into Scotland's incredible outer islands to explore Gaelic culture and traditions. See the ruins and relics of ancient Scottish civilizations, and the wild beauty of the Highlands…

​Guided Tours, Small Groups

Scottish Isles & Glens

Starting from $3099

4.8
12 Days

Head a little off the beaten path on this tour of Scotland's rugged Highlands, coastal byways, and the archaeological treasures on Orkney and the Isle of Skye.

​Guided Tours, Small Groups

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